Literacy and RTI on the Secondary Level: Students' Needs, Educators' Responses

Literacy and RTI on the Secondary Level: Students' Needs, Educators' Responses

Kandy Smith (Western Kentucky University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8322-6.ch005
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The application of response to intervention (RTI) for reading in secondary schools is difficult yet achievable. As adolescents read texts that will prepare them for college and careers, they require support from highly qualified professionals. Educators meet that need with effective instruction and guidance. The framework of RTI, especially the Tier 1 level that occurs in all general education classrooms, can be developed around literacy components that combine to result in skilled reading. This chapter will encourage secondary educators to consider the RTI framework as not only a means to identify the possible literacy needs of their students but also as an opportunity to examine and optimize the realistic responses that they might provide in an effort to meet those needs.
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As early as 2003, Iowan educators were engaged in conversations concerning RTI (Marston, 2013). Pennsylvania began discussing the implementation of RTI as a framework in 2005 (Kovaleski, 2012), and Colorado educators began their own discussions in 2006 (Ramirez, 2017). No one particular person is credited for discovering RTI since it is recognized as more of a movement than a single event. The need for support like RTI developed in response to dissatisfaction associated with the identification process for a learning disability (LD). In addition, according to some, an overidentification in the area of LD existed that was perhaps situated in the lack of genuine effort on the pre-referral side of LD identification.

Thus, while RTI has been recognized as a framework for intervention and learning for approximately 15 years, conversations continue in secondary settings, where RTI still feels new; there are secondary settings where an RTI framework or an equivalent has not been established at all. There are settings where interventions are in place, but they differ greatly from the intent of the RTI framework, focusing more on test prep than on interventions that address learning gaps, and there are secondary settings where RTI is in place and is being implemented with as much fidelity as possible. That fidelity and the difficulties that at times hamper the RTI process will be discussed later in this chapter.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Tier 2: In RTI, the second intervention level. In this level, students who need more support than a teacher can provide in the confines of a large group class setting receive additional support, usually in smaller group settings.

Skilled Reading: Comprehension of a text.

Tier 1: In RTI, the first level of intervention. All students in the school are included in this instruction. Teachers in general education classrooms provide this part of the RTI framework daily. It is the most important tier of the RTI process.

Literacy: Includes the ability to read, write, speak, and listen.

Tier 3: In RTI, the third intervention level. This tier usually refers to the tier in which students receive designated special services (i.e., special education or inclusion in an English language learner classroom).

Benchmark Assessments: Assessments that provide beginning knowledge in the RTI process.

Adolescents: Students Grades 4 to 12 (for the purposes of this work).

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